While multicloud is the practice of using two or more cloud providers to host a single application, it can be expensive and add complexity. Omnicloud is being marketed as a means to make it easy to use multiple cloud services, which can reduce the risks of downtime for critical applications and risks associated with being tied to one provider.
What is it?
An omnicloud approach implies a level of portability for a single application across two or more cloud providers.
This may be an appropriate approach when you have business-critical applications where you cannot afford any downtime or loss of control, for instance, a foreign currency exchange, stock trading application or online shopping portal.
Unlike the cost associated with multicloud — where additional investment can be needed to make your applications portable — omnicloud promises to make portability easy. This is intended to be done through cloud vendors agreeing on standards, although it has yet to be proven to work.
What’s in for you?
Omnicloud enables you to reduce the risks of potential downtime.
If you have business-critical applications that cannot afford downtime, omnicloud can reduce the risk of service interruptions by enabling you to failover to another provider.
By using multiple providers, you also reduce the risks associated with lock in with a single vendor.
You may also be able to reduce latency for your applications, through the use of regional cloud providers which are closer to your users.
What are the trade offs?
While supposedly cheaper than multicloud, omnicloud is nonetheless a more expensive option than simply hosting your applications with one provider. For instance, your teams will have to support multiple different cloud environments — and not all the skills needed are readily transferable.
For many applications, those additional costs may not be worth it: there are other ways to deliver high availability or reduce the risks of lock in.
How is it being used?
Like multicloud, omnicloud is intended to be used by enterprises that cannot afford downtime for particular applications or who want to maintain some commercial independence from their cloud provider. You might also adopt omnicloud for compliance — for instance, the EU’s GDPR regulations require organizations to hold customer data in certain locations.